Composition in photography is how you arrange elements in the frame. Learn the most impactful composition tips to take better photos.
The composition of a photograph is an effective way to become a better photographer.
Composition is the organization of subjects and elements to create an eye-catching photo.
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It’s the best way to separate your photos from other photographers.
The following covers the best composition tips that you can use right away.
Keep in mind that the composition tips are an excellent place to start.
But photography is an art, and there aren’t hard and fast rules. So, use them as a guideline to improve your photos.
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1. Rule of thirds
The rule of thirds is a guideline that breaks the frame into thirds. It divides the image into nine equal parts.
The four points where the lines intersect are the points of interest.
To use the rule of thirds, position the subject on one of the intersecting points.
When you take a close-up portrait, position one of your subject’s eyes on the points.
It’ll create a natural and visually-interesting photo.
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2. Leading lines
Leading lines guide a viewer’s eyes towards a subject.
The lines can be literal or implied. Also, leading lines can be straight or straight.
Walls, paths, railings, water, and buildings, are a few of the many leading lines you can find around you.
It’s one of the best composition tips because it’s subtle yet powerful.
3. Place your subject’s head above or below a horizontal line
If a horizontal line in the background goes through your subject’s head, the image will look off.
It’s also known as spearing, which distracts the viewer from the subject.
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The solution is to keep your subject’s head above or below the line. If there are many lines, keep your subject’s head between them.
Anytime you photograph portraits, check the background.
Stop spearing, and you’ll see improvements in your photography.
4. Shoot from a different angle
Add interest to your photos with different perspectives. If you take photos from a straight-on angle, try a high or low angle.
Before pressing the shutter button, look at the scene and try other viewpoints.
With different angles, you’ll capture unique and striking images. It makes your photos stand out, and you’ll be more creative.
5. Lead room
Lead room is the negative space in front of your subject in the direction they’re facing. It’s also known as leading space, breathing space, or nose room.
Without lead room, the image portrays feelings of tightness or restriction.
Lead room is an essential aspect of any image where a subject is moving or facing the left or right.
It gives your photos a sense of direction, motion, and a natural flow.
6. Rule of odds
The rule of odds states that viewers prefer odd numbers over even numbers.
Whenever you take a photo of a group, stick to odd numbers because it’ll be more pleasing to the eye.
The rule of odds works for photos of people, animals, nature, and things. But, it’s not the best technique all the time.
An example is engagement photos. The purpose is to photograph a couple so you won’t use the rule of odds.
Use it to arrange objects into odd numbers without making the photo look off.
7. Change the depth of field
The depth of field is the distance between the nearest and farthest part of a photo that’s in sharp focus.
To change the depth of field, change the aperture or f-stop.
A larger f-stop number is a deeper depth of field, meaning the zone in focus is larger. The converse is also true.
In your photography, you must use different depths of field to tell a story. It also makes your image more compelling.
Use a shallow depth of field to blur backgrounds and a deep depth of field to capture edge-to-edge sharpness.
8. Fill the frame
When you fill the frame with your subject, a viewer focuses on the main point of the image.
To fill the frame, you must get close to your subject or use a lens with a long focal length.
In post-processing, you can crop the image to fill the frame.
When there’s limited space around your subject, you remove all potential distractions.
Use the fill the frame composition technique to make your subject stand out.
Triangles are dynamic and powerful shapes. They can make an image feel stable or unstable.
In almost every photo you take, there are triangles. Use it intentionally to become a better photographer.
An excellent way to use triangles is to combine three points of interest.
It provides a sense of balance and works well with other composition techniques.
Another way to use triangles is to capture shapes.
You can find implied or literal triangles almost everywhere you look.
10. Frame within a frame
The frame within a frame concept came from artists and is an excellent composition tool.
Use framing to add depth and dimension to your photos.
Find objects, shapes, or lines in your photo to act as a frame for your subject. Then, make sure your subject is in sharp focus.
The framing technique requires more thought, time, and patience because you need to focus on your subject’s position.
It’s worth the effort, as the photos you capture using the framing technique will be stunning.
It also draws a viewer’s eyes to your main subject.
To become a better photographer, use composition to make your photos stand out.
A well-composed image is dynamic, compelling, beautiful, and creative.
Remember, the composition techniques are starting points. You can break the rules and get creative to capture even better photos.
Featured photo by Unsplash.
About David Em
David Em is the founder of Portraits Refined. He’s a published portrait photographer dedicated to helping photographers develop skills, capture incredible photos, and build successful businesses.